The island of Lanai has a long history steeped in the culture and spirit of the native residents who have inhabited Lanai since the early 1500s. Because of their rich heritage, the residents honor their culture and history by celebrating throughout the year with special events in Lanai.
There are several Lanai festivals scheduled throughout the year and one of the most established and long running of the Lanai events is the Lanai Pineapple Festival, which is celebrated annually. The pineapple industry officially started here in 1922 when James Dole first introduced the luscious fruit to the tiny island. Field workers made their way to Lanai from all parts of the world to work in the pineapple fields to plant and harvest the crops. Through Dole's expertise and business acumen, the crops yielded healthy fruit and continued to prosper for decades becoming the leading location for exported pineapple in the world.
The Lanai Pineapple Festival, held July 4, takes place at Dole Park with examples of Hawaiian crafts, games, entertainment, music, food and pineapple cooking, cutting and eating contests and King Kamehameha Day celebrated in June honoring the birthdate of the Hawaiian Islands first ruler.
Two additional scheduled Lanai festivals are the Lanai Festival of Aloha held in September that celebrates Hawaii's culture, history, heritage and traditions featuring traditional dance and music of the island, and the annual Christmas Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony held in December.
Other events in Lanai that visitors to the island can enjoy are the Lanai Obon Dance, which celebrates the dead through dance, food, incense, and flower ceremony. Lei Day is another of the events in Lanai that honors the spirit of the island's culture of giving a garland of flowers to someone as a way of saying welcome or bidding them good-bye.
Sports enthusiasts have their own Lanai events to look forward to. Active travelers might consider participating in the Lanai Pine Sporting Clay 500-target shoot and the Lanai Pine Fun Shoot with a 200-target shoot.
Cultural and artistic Lanai festivals include evenings scheduled throughout the year for exceptional wine-tasting events coupled with a full five-course dinner hosted by Chef Jon Wheeler. At the Mike Carroll Gallery, paintings are on display by the artist himself along with others by several local artists. This event benefits both the Lanai Art Center and Lanai Animal Rescue Center.
An annual event that draws many tourists each year is the chance to observe the humpback whales on their migration journey from Alaska to the waters of the Pacific where they can be seen for miles. The peak whale watching season in Hawaii goes from December through about mid-April.
One of the most memorable events in Lanai is a personal one created by couples who have chosen the island as the setting for exchanging their wedding vows. Providing an idyllic and serene atmosphere complimented by the panorama of lush flowers, towering pines and the blue Pacific, there are many stunning locations to hold the most special of Lanai events.